Why did the administrators of Project Nollywood approve and sponsor some Nigerian filmmakers to film schools overseas when we have proven film schools in Nigeria such as the National Film Institute in Jos, Del-York Creative Academy in Lagos and the African Film and TV Academy (AFTA) in Lagos and Port Harcourt, that is affiliated to Whistling Woods International, one of the best 10 film schools in the world?
The costs of going overseas would have been saved if Project Nollywood sent them to AFTA, National Film Institute and other world class film schools in Nigeria. In fact, for a couple of them, the 30 days they spent at the film schools in the United States of America and United Kingdom did nothing more than give them the pleasure of traveling to the US and UK and not for the benefit of learning anything new in film making that they could not learn at the reputable film schools in Nigeria. This anomaly shows that the management of Project Nollywood does not know how to manage the administration of the N3 billion naira grants as we have also seen in the poorly marketed films produced with funds from the entertainment intervention fund managed by the Bank of Industry and NEXIM Bank.
Millions of dollars have been lost in the in productions of “Half of A Yellow Sun” and “Doctor Bello”, due to lack of experience and expertise in film distribution by the filmmakers who were given loans to make their movies, but without media plan for the publicity of the movies which is critical and pivotal to successful film distribution. Another beneficiary has been given a loan for film distribution, because he could provide the required collateral, but his poor knowledge of modern film distribution is glaring, because he does not even have any media plan for his marketing of Nigerian films and he is still grappling with the shortage of content.
There is no film distribution without publicity which must be in the total budget of every film project. James Cameron spent more on the publicity than the amount he spent on the production of his 2009 blockbuster “Avatar” and that boosted the film distribution to make the epic film the highest-grossing film of all time so far in history; making over US$2, 787, 965, 087.
"The budget was $237 million, with $150 million for promotion, end of story," said a spokesperson for 20th Century Fox Studios.
What we need most for Nollywood is not handing out grants for unnecessary film production courses overseas, but film seminars and workshops on local and global film distribution that will boost Nollywood to become a major player in the global film market like China that has overtaken Japan to become the second biggest global film market after United States of America, even without dubbing their film industry “Chinawood”.
Presently Nigeria does not have a film market and how can you have a film industry without a film market? Having a film market will boost film distribution like the American Film Market.
The American Film Market is described as follows: "The business of independent motion picture production and distribution – a truly collaborative process – reaches its peak every year at the American Film Market. Over 8,000 industry leaders converge in Santa Monica for eight days of deal-making, screenings, seminars, networking and parties. Participants come from over 70 countries and include acquisition and development executives, agents, attorneys, directors, distributors, festival directors, financiers, film commissioners, producers, writers, the world’s press all those who provide services to the motion picture industry."
As we can see, a film market is important to having a film industry.
If we have world class film schools in Nigeria, then why should Nollywood filmmakers go as far away as El Dorado for what we already have in Sokoto?
~ By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima, Founder/President of Zenith International Film Festival (ZIFF), Publisher/Editor Nigerians Report Online